Should Concrete Be Used When Putting Up Wood Fencing

Should Concrete Be Used When Putting Up Wood Fencing

A sturdy fence adds beauty, privacy, and security to your property. But before you start hammering nails, a crucial decision needs to be made: should you set your wood fence posts in concrete? While it might seem like the most secure option, there are several factors to consider to ensure your fence has a long and healthy lifespan.


Does concrete create a stronger fence?

Absolutely! Concrete provides a very solid foundation for fence posts, making the fence more resistant to strong winds, heavy rains, and even minor earthquakes. Here's how concrete contributes to a strong fence:


  • Improved Stability: Concrete creates a larger anchor point for the post in the ground. This added stability prevents the post from shifting or leaning over time, especially in loose soil or high-wind areas.
  • Reduced Movement: Fence posts naturally experience some movement due to temperature fluctuations and ground settling. Concrete helps minimize this movement, keeping your fence panels aligned and preventing sagging or warping.
  • Enhanced Uplift Resistance: Frost heave, a process where freezing and thawing soil expands and contracts, can push fence posts upwards. Concrete helps counteract this force, keeping the posts firmly in place throughout the year.

Considering alternatives to concrete

While concrete offers undeniable benefits for fence post stability, it's not the only option. Here are some effective alternatives to consider:


Pressure-treated lumber and gravel

  • Pressure-Treated Wood: Using pressure-treated lumber specifically designed for ground contact is crucial. This wood is treated with preservatives that resist rot and insect damage, making it a long-lasting choice.

  • Gravel Base: Instead of concrete, fill the post hole with a mixture of crushed gravel and coarse sand. This well-draining base provides support and allows for some natural movement, preventing water from accumulating around the post and promoting rot.


Post sleeves and tamper post mix

  • Post Sleeves: These pre-molded plastic sleeves are designed to fit around the base of the wood post. The sleeve is filled with a specially formulated, quick-setting gravel mix called tamper post mix.

  • Tamper Post Mix: This dry mix expands slightly as it sets, creating a tight and supportive fit around the post. It allows for drainage while providing excellent stability.


Choosing the right fence post material

The material of your fence posts also plays a significant role in the fence's overall strength. Here are some top choices:

  • Cedar: This naturally rot-resistant wood is a popular option for wood fences. However, cedar can be more expensive than other choices.
  • Redwood: Another naturally rot-resistant wood, redwood is a strong and durable option that weathers beautifully.
  • Vinyl: While not technically wood, vinyl fence posts offer excellent strength and are virtually maintenance-free. They are resistant to rot, insects, and harsh weather conditions.


Building a strong and long-lasting wood fence

There are several effective ways to achieve a strong and secure wood fence without using concrete. By choosing the right post material, using pressure-treated lumber, and opting for a well-draining gravel base or post sleeves with tamper post mix, you can create a fence that will stand the test of time.